Suddenly, the room was plunged into frenzied activity.
Disappearing into his professional shell, Tom pushed both Bobby and Sam aside, snatching up his stethoscope and blood-pressure cuff as he began trying to ascertain Dean's condition.
It quickly became obvious that between Jimmy's frantic wails, not to mention the untidy clatter as he half-clambered, half-fell down down from the couch, Sam's raging, Bobby's desperate and futile attempts to calm both of them and his own pounding heart, Tom had more chance of hearing a cow fart in Borneo as he did of hearing any of Dean's vital signs.
He spun round to face his distraught companions; "SHUT THE FUCK UP – ALL OF YOU!"
Within a single second the room fell eerily silent as everyone in it, including Tom, stood stunned into temporary shock by the volume and the nature of the words that had just tumbled out of the mild-mannered physician's mouth.
"Please," he added sheepishly before turning back to his work.
Pressing the small disc to Dean's blood-caked skin, he stood and listened, practically willing himself to hear the sound of a heartbeat. 'Pleasepleaseplease ...', he murmured under his breath as he concentrated hard on his task, feeling the heat of three pairs of desperate eyes boring into his back.
And, eventually, there it was: a rapid, shallow thrum; the sound that everyone in the room had been desperate to hear. At the same time, pressing his clammy fingers beneath the unconscious hunter's jawline, he felt a pulse, again, rapid and faint, but most definitely there.
Tom looked up at the three men crowding around him, a nervous smile spreading across his face as he shakily let out the breath he'd been holding; "he's alive, thank God; he's alive."
Closing his eyes, Sam tightened his grip around his brother's wrist, while Bobby looked just about ready to collapse with relief.
Beside him Jimmy clung nervously to Bobby's arm, sniffling quietly, his eyes fixed despondently on Dean's lax body as he drew the back of a hand across his wet face.
"Why isn't he awake then?" Sam asked, staring down at Dean's gaunt, colourless face; his eyes, sunken into charcoal-dark circles, still tightly closed.
"Not too sure yet," Tom replied; "we need to clean him up then I'm gonna get him straight down to the hospital."
"Hospital?" Sam, Bobby and Jimmy all gasped in unison; "why does he need a hospital?"
"I wanna get him checked out," Tom replied sharply; "his pulse and heartbeat are both rapid and weak. Now that could be some unforeseen side-effect of the spell or something simple like low blood pressure or exhaustion, but there's a chance it could also be something more serious; I don't have the equipment to test for that kind of thing here."
Eyes widening in horror at the Doctor's words, Sam looked like he'd been punched in the gut; "You don't – do you really think he … what sort of serious d'y mean?"
Tom looked down at his unconscious patient; "heart or lung damage maybe … I couldn't say, all I'm saying is it's a possibility we need to eliminate."
Sam's face drained of colour, paling until it was almost as grey as his brother's; so much so, Bobby felt compelled to lay a reassuring hand on the younger hunter's shoulder.
Fortified by his sense of purpose, Tom squared his shoulders, aware that time was of the essence. "Bobby, Sam, get him cleaned up for me will you? I need to check on young Jimmy here."
Taking the initiative, Bobby nodded smartly and stepped over to the sink, filling the first bowl he found with warm water.
"C'mon son," Bobby smiled toward Sam as he placed the bowl and a pair of facecloths on the couch beside Dean's head; "let's make him all pretty so Tom can get him on the road soon as possible."
Flicking Bobby a nervous smile, Sam glanced up across the room to Tom, currently leaning over Jimmy's hunched form and murmuring reassurances to the young man who was sitting slumped on the side of the couch, his legs dangling loosely over the edge. Pink-cheeked and hale and hearty, Jimmy looked at once a picture of health and a vision of misery as he submitted placidly to the Doctor's sympathetic checks.
By the time Sam returned his attention to Dean, Bobby was already rinsing away the blood-glyphs painted across Dean's skin. With a sigh, he soaked the second facecloth in the pink-tinged water, and began to work alongside Bobby, sweeping the damp cloth across Dean's chest and shoulders, washing away the visible reminders of the desperate act that had left him in this stricken condition.
Finally satisfied that Dean's body was free of the ugly sigils, Sam reached behind him, snagging a towel, and set about gently patting his brother dry. Beside him, Bobby rested a hand across Dean's forehead, unconsciously ruffling the younger man's fringe and smiled sadly as he watched Sam's devoted attentions; "c'mon kid, you've done what you needed to do," he muttered softly; "it's time to come back to us now y'idjit." He gave Dean's shoulder a gentle squeeze, a silent gesture of reassurance and unity, hoping against hope that in some way, Dean, however he was and wherever he may be, would feel and understand it.
Both men abruptly became aware that Tom and Jimmy had joined them from across the room; Tom was already pulling on his coat ready to make the trip to the hospital, while Jimmy trailed behind him like a shadow; afraid and unsure of his place in this terrifying emergency, but heartbreakingly convinced that he, somehow, was the cause of it.
"Okay dude," Sam patted Dean's freshly-cleansed chest as he spoke with a cheeriness, manufactured for Dean's benefit, that didn't reach his eyes; "we're gonna take you downtown and get you all fixed up real good."
Bobby nodded in agreement; "yeah," he snorted, the hand that was resting on Dean's forehead, sliding down to pat the elder brother's cheek; "an' I don't wanna be hearing any stories about you chasin' them poor nurses around the freakin' place, understand?"
As Bobby supported his head, Sam slid his arm underneath Dean's back to hoist him into a sitting position, cradling him carefully against the rock-solid wall of his body ready for the trip out to Tom's SUV. Tom worked behind them readying an oxygen mask and blankets, when their combined progress was abruptly halted by a faltering, barely audible voice.
"'F'you two perverts are gonna keep touchin' me up, 'leas' buy me dinner first."